Roger Federer vs. Andy Murray: Expect a Wimbledon Repeat in Gold-Medal Match
By the time Roger Federer and Andy Murray begin their men's gold-medal match in singles tennis Sunday, it will have been exactly four weeks since Federer beat Murray in the final at Wimbledon.
Expect a repeat result Sunday at the All England Club—the exact same venue that hosts Wimbledon—but with Federer having a gold medal around his neck at its conclusion instead of raising the gold Wimbledon trophy.
In winning his 17th major championship at Wimbledon in early July, Federer overcame a first-set letdown to Murray to win 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. The loss dropped Murray to 0-4 in major finals and 0-8 vs. Federer in five-set matches.
Why should we expect anything to be different Sunday at the Olympic Games?
Another factor to consider: The roof at Centre Court may be closed for Sunday's final.
Thunderstorms are expected to hit London for most of Sunday, and any detrimental weather would almost certainly force the roof closed. Back in July, Federer used the roof closing to springboard his big win.
The Associated Press (via ESPN), reported that Federer won 65 of the 117 points once the roof closed at Wimbledon. It was a dominant end to his seventh Wimbledon win.
"I'm happy that closing the roof maybe helped me today because I wasn't sure if that was going to help me or not," Federer said post-match.
Murray understood how well Federer played once Centre Court was closed up.
"When the roof closed, he played unbelievable tennis," Murray said.
That's not to say that Murray can't beat Federer Sunday, as one could argue that the Scot is playing better tennis at the moment.
Murray hasn't lost a set since the third round of this tournament, and his straight-set win over Novak Djokovic was a thing of beauty. He was aggressive throughout, always on the attack. Federer, on the other hand, had his hands full with Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals, winning 3-6, 7-6, 19-17 Friday.
But Murray always seems to get tentative in major finals, and there's no one in the world better prepared to handle the pressure associated with an Olympic gold-medal final than Federer, who is tied for the most Wimbledon titles ever at seven.
The format fits Federer better too, as he's yet to lose in his career to Murray in a five-set match. While the rest of the tournament follows a three-set format, the final will be played in five sets.
Murray can play with anyone in the world over three sets, but the trick for him is holding up over what's likely to be a two- to three-hour match. He's struggled in that area in the past.
You'd also like to believe that Federer has a mental edge, with a gold medal being the one thing missing from his legendary tennis resume. A win Sunday would only further cement his place among the game's best-ever players.
There's reason to think either player can win on Sunday. It wouldn't be a huge surprise if Murray rallied behind his country and won gold. But there's just too much that points Federer's way—his recent win at Wimbledon, the roof potentially closing and the mental state he's likely in—to pick Murray Sunday.
Federer will complete his tennis resume with another win at the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon.
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